News

School Re-Opening Must Not Be Political

8/3/2020

The following statement is attributed to South Dakota Education Association President Loren Paul in response to a recent fundraising letter sent out by Governor Noem’s campaign, which discourages students from wearing masks as schools re-open later this month.   

“The health and safety of South Dakota’s students and educators is a very serious issue as we all deal with the pandemic. Parents and educators have legitimate concerns about how COVID-19 might impact their children’s health and the health of the adults who work in our schools. The decisions to be made before opening, including the mandating of masks, must not be politicized. It is disappointing that Governor Noem’s campaign is using this very emotional issue as fodder to raise campaign cash.

“As professional educators, we urge school districts to look exclusively to the professionals in the healthcare and science communities to guide decisions on masks. The Center for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the South Dakota State Medical Association are unanimous in their recommendations that students and staff should wear face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Everyone wants our kids back in school, but we must work together to keep students safe as well as the adults who are there to support and teach them. Without healthy educators, schools will not be able to deliver the education our students deserve. Turning school opening decisions into a political football undermines those efforts and will put lives at risk.”

SDEA is South Dakota’s largest education professionals’ organization, representing more than 5,000 elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

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SDEA is South Dakota’s largest education professionals’ organization, representing more than 5,000 elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.